Archive for the 'Food for thought' Category

23
Mar
10

Environmentally Unfriendly

Lately I’ve been a little concerned about the environment, well, little may be an exagerration since I haven’t made any resolutions or taken any steps towards making my contibution, but I do use CFL’s. 😛 I know that it all boils down to each individual to try and make a change, but how do we know how much difference we do make? The impact would be as little as dropping a grain of sugar in the ocean trying to make it sweet.
There was a movie documenting underwater life called “The Blue Planet”. It showed whole ecosystems underwater living off the warmth and minerals and chemicals spewed out by underwater geysers. We know more about outerspace than we do our oceans and the life under them. I was surprised to know that there was an underwater beach! Well, technically it wasn’t a beach per se, sure, there’s sand and water, but you’d need the sun for a beach. At the ocean floor, there was a lake-type formation, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, probably next to a picture of the milky way.
Sometimes, its discouraging to see that no matter how much effort you (try to) make to reduce your carbon footprint, there are so many others who just do not give a flying rat’s ass. I don’t think its ignorance anymore, its just plain irresponsibility. Our gift of free will is easily misused.
I’ve searched for dustbins so many times in vain, while out in the city streets holding stuff I need to dispose. I think the Govt. can get people to co-operate better if they install trashcans in every corner of each city, instead of hoarding boards urging people to “THINK” about their environment. I don’t think any self-respecting person would throw crap wherever it fits if they see a garbage bin nearby, I know I wouldn’t.
Take for instance, the Paan. Indians are known for eating Paan, but then again, betelnut is not even exclusive to India. Its the 2nd largest cash-crop in Taiwan! After Rice! (http://blog.asiahotels.com/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-betel-nut-culture/) I’ve once watched a piece on the Travel and Living channel, and they eat the same way we do. But you don’t see lime smears on their city walls and poles, layered thick enough it makes you wonder whether people actually put it on or take if off from such surfaces.
It sure makes a great excuse, too. The story where the govt. installed images of Hindu dieties to discourage people from spitting on walls, only to find the same people making an effort to get the job done on the areas where its blank, is well known. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “Painting the town red!” 😛
And that’s just the garbage part. There’s so many other things that makes the fight for the planet so futile. In “The Eleventh Hour”, there was an Environmentalist (Don’t remember his name) who said that the Industrial Revolution was based on the belief that our planet has endless resources to fuel our growing need for commodities, produced by carbon emitting, resource guzzling machines we have created.
But now we know better, and that is why we need to rethink the way we design things from scratch. The beautiful part is that that is a revolution in itself. Imagine a world where we live in Harmony with nature, where each decision is made with the effect on nature added to the equation. Sure, it may not be possible to create something that has simply no negative consequences to the environment, but the try is worth every bit.
Although we have advanced in leaps and bounds in the fields of Science and Technology, would we be willing to take a step backward, even one step, for the environment? Or would we be willing to put the advancement on hold and focus on making it better and more efficient? In “Jarhead”, there was a scene where the Marines marched through the burning Oil-Fields of Iraq, (Supposedly set afire by Saddam) and someone said that it was the earth bleeding. I guess it was.
The population of our Earth is increasing rapidly, and people are living longer each day (No offense meant, tho’), water is getting scarce, food is not getting any easier to obtain, and the cost of living is sky-rocketing. Pretty soon, what is inevitable only in Apocalyptic movies may soon become reality. I guess the only saving grace may be that the newer generations in more developed countries are becoming aware of this madness, and are trying to make a change, while others in the third-world are glad just to be alive.
Advertisements
30
Jan
10

We are..

We are but..

Just a face in the crowd,
A grain of sand in the desert,
A drop of rain in the Amazon,
A note in a Symphony.

One ode in an epic,
One delimiter in an OS source code,
One transistor in a processor,
One blog in the blogosphere

..yet we are.

14
Sep
09

Maimizial

I think that is how it is spelled (Correct me if I’m wrong!)

It was a lazy afternoon and I must’ve dropped off to sleep while in bed. When I woke up (Or so I thought), I could see everything around me. There was some strange sound outside of people making some kinda noise. I thought I’d get up,  but then realised I was stuck. I couldn’t move any part of my body, not even my lips. I could see around the room, the door, the rack, the newspaper on the floor, but I just couldn’t move.

It wasn’t my first time, I’ve had worse. Like once, it happened at night and that was worth remembering. I could even see a dark silhouette of a man standing at the foot of my bed, but couldn’t move or scream. (In later descriptions of the same event, the dark shadow even had what looked like horns.. hehe) I’ve read that trying to move ones toes helps, and that was what pulled me out of that half-awakedness.

Another time was on another afternoon. (I know, an afternoon nap is unbeatable!) I could hear my roomies shouting about something in one room, while I was lying frigid on another. But eventually when I wriggled out of the semi-coma, there was  no one in the other room. It was kinda creepy then.

So, I drove on the Information Superhighway to find more info. on it. I found something called “Sleep Paralysis” in Wikipedia which was exactly similar. It seems the world was no stranger to the phenomena. From all over the globe, they have Myths, Folk-lore, legends, etc to support their beliefs. In the end, it was all just superstition. But for more scientific details on the subject, I found this:

What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis consists of a period of inability to perform voluntary movements either at sleep onset (called hypnogogic or predormital form) or upon awakening (called hypnopompic or postdormtal form).

Sleep paralysis may also be referred to as isolated sleep paralysis, familial sleep paralysis, hynogogic or hypnopompic paralysis, predormital or postdormital paralysis

What are the symptoms?

  • A complaint of inability to move the trunk or limbs at sleep onset or upon awakening
  • Presence of brief episodes of partial or complete skeletal muscle paralysis
  • Episodes can be associated with hypnagogic hallucinations or dream-like mentation (act or use of the brain)

Polysomnography (a sleep recording) shows at least one of the following:

  • suppression of skeletal muscle tone
  • a sleep onset REM period
  • dissociated REM sleep

Is it harmful?

Sleep paralysis is most often associated with narcolepsy, a neurological condition in which the person has uncontrollable naps. However, there are many people who experience sleep paralysis without having signs of narcolepsy. Sometimes it runs in families. There is no known explanation why some people experience this paralysis. It is not harmful, although most people report feeling very afraid because they do not know what is happening, and within minutes they gradually or abruptly are able to move again; the episode is often terminated by a sound or a touch on the body.

In some cases, when hypnogogic hallucinations are present, people feel that someone is in the room with them, some experience the feeling that someone or something is sitting on their chest and they feel impending death and suffocation. That has been called the “Hag Phenomena” and has been happening to people over the centuries. These things cause people much anxiety and terror, but there is no physical harm.

How can I stop the sleep paralysis?

In severe cases, where episodes take place at least once a week for 6 months, medication may be used.

You may be able to minimize the episodes by following good sleep hygiene:

  • getting enough sleep
  • reduce stress
  • exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime)
  • keep a regular sleep schedule

So the next time, you can safely say that there is no evil spirit possessing you, no devil sitting on your chest (or standing at the foot of your bed), no ghost forcing you down, its simply “Hypnopompic paralysis”.. pompic.. hehehe..

02
Mar
09

On food and cooking!

I love cooking. I don’t consider myself a good cook, but rather a guy who cooks good. I can’t whip up a four-course meal or a dainty gourmet dish, leave alone know the difference between the two, but I put effort in my work and I’m hardly ever disappointed with the results.

One of my most admired chef is Kylie Kwong, not that I memorize any of her recipes, or have learnt to create anything she did. The most important thing I learnt from her is cooking with the heart and soul, that whatever you make on the kitchen table should be done with utmost care. The food deserves respect.

My first attempt at cooking was at New Delhi. I was staying at my aunt’s place alone, all of them had gone home for the summer. I started with oil, spices and chicken, and ended up with burnt pieces of black meat. I think the rats made a good meal of it, at least it served its purpose as a dinner.

After my move to Pune, I learnt the art of cooking with a pressure cooker, and its amazing. All you need to do is to put the meat in it, add spices, masala, ginger, garlic, onions, soya, etc… whatever you want, and pour half a glass of water (If the meat retains too much water, not required). The cooking time depends on the type of meat you’re cooking and that knowledge comes with experience. Beef and pork – 45 Mins or more and chicken – 30 mins. Make sure you put the flame on low after the first whistle or when the cooker starts making some sound. After the meat is cooked, if there’s extra or too much water, just heat everything up in a frying pan till the liquid evaporates. Try it once, it works everytime.

Cooking is a real stress-buster for me. I spend my weekend evenings stirring with one hand and beer on the other. Its not that I have guests over much, but I just like to pamper myself over a good meal. I’d like to think that I deserve the treat, ‘cos on weekdays, I eat too much junk food, Maggi mostly, and 2pm which is actually great ‘cos it kinda tastes like Wai-wai in a place where you don’t get any.

Finally, we’ve been eating out pretty frequent recently, yet I would always prefer a good home-cooked meal to anything I may get from any retaurant or diners. After all, nothing beats rice, dal and fried meat alongwith some spicy chutney. Nothing satisfies my hunger more than that. No Pizza, no burger, no KFC, no nothing compares to it.  So there!

12
Dec
08

Test post for Food for thought !

Test post for Food for thought !